Wisdom Mirror

Wisdom Mirror

To begin this exercise break the group up into pairs.  Give the pairs a topic of conversation that you have decided on.  One person in the pair begins to talk about the topic that you have given.  They are the initiator.  The other person in the pair, the follower, mirrors the words that the first partner exactly out loud.  Their goal is to speak the words that the initiator is saying exactly.  After a short time the sidecoach will say “Change” and the follower will now start to be the initator, picking up where the two just left off.  The first speaker will now become the follower and begin to mirror the words of the new initator.  The goal is to have no break in the flow of the conversation.  For example:

Sidecoach:  Ok the topic is meditation.  First speaker begin!

1st Speaker (initiator): Meditation is something that you can do anytime and anywhere…

2nd Speaker (follower): mirroring speech simultaneously Meditation is something that you can do anytime and anywhere…

After a period of time

Sidecoach: Change!  Try not to stop the flow.

Change the initiator and follower several more times throughout the conversation.

In reverence, talk about what it was like sharing the conversation.  Was it hard to keep the flow?  Did it get easier as you went along?  Did you begin to know what the other person was going to say?  Did you share some wisdom or learn something new?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: The Sources, Wisdom.  This could work with any theme if you provide it as the topic of conversation.

Changing Three

Changing Three

To begin this exercise, have the group divide up into pairs.  All the pairs will do the exercise simultaneously.  Have the partners choose who will go first and who will go second.  Once that is decided, the person going second will observe their partner noting their dress, accessories, shoes, etc.  Then the second person will turn around and close their eyes.  The first person will now make three changes to their appearance.  Untie a shoe, move their watch, move a beret, take off their glasses, etc.  When they are ready, they will have their partner turn back around and see if they can find the three changes.

Once the first pair has switched so both people could guess, have the pairs mix up and try it with a new person.

In reverence, talk about noticing changes.  Were big changes or little ones harder to see?  Did you find you got better at observing as the exercise went on?  How are you at noticing changes in your life?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Change, transcendence/transformation, and insight.

Who Started the Movement?

Who Started the Movement?

To begin this exercise get all participants in a circle.  Send one person out of the room who will be the seeker.  Once the seeker is gone, choose one person to be the leader who will start the motion.  Call the seeker back in and put them in the center of the circle where they will try to discover the leader who is leading the other people in the circle to do different motions.  Everyone in the circle follows the leader.  The leader may change the movement as much as they like.  When the seeker figures out who the leader is, the seeker may choose a new seeker.  When the new seeker leaves the room the leader may choose a new leader.

In reverence, talk about what it was like trying to find the leader or be the leader.  What was it like to have the job of leading everyone?  Was it easier to follow?  How did you find the leader?  Was that a hard job?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Vocation and justice

Also a great warm up.

UUs in Space…

UUs in Space…

This is a basic acting exercise that encourages participants to experience the space around them. To begin tell participants to find their own comfortable position in the space.  They may either sit or lay down, but make sure that they have their eyes open during the exercise.  Closed eyes may mean disconnection from the exercise.  You will guide the participants to be aware by feeling the world around them.  For example:

Sidecoach: Feel ground beneath you (or beneath your feet.)

Feel the ground (chair) on your neck and back.  Where do you touch the ground          (chair?)  Where does the ground (chair) touch you?

Feel your head on the ground.  What does the ground feel like cushioned by your hair? 

                   Feel the air around you.  Is it warm or cool?  Is it humid or dry?

                   Listen to the room.  What do you hear?  Is it loud or quiet?

                   Smell the room.  What does it smell like? 

You can now let participants get up and walk the space.

                   Feel how the ground supports you.  Is it hold you up?

                   Feel the air as you move.  Are you moving it or is it moving you?

                   Feel people as they pass you.  What do you feel as they go by?

In reverence you should talk about what some of the answers were to the questions above or ones that you have added.

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Insight, divinity, mysticism, memory and hope and peace.

To Thine Own Self be Aware

To Thine Own Self be Aware

This is a basic acting exercise that allows the participants to become aware of their own body and feelings.  To begin tell participants to find their own comfortable position in the space.  They may either sit or lay down, but make sure that they have their eyes open during the exercise.  Closed eyes may mean disconnection from the exercise.  You will guide the participants to be aware from the bottom up.  For example:

Sidecoach: Feel your feet inside your socks.

                   Feel your socks on your feet.

                   Feel your feet in your shoes.

                   Feel your legs in your pant legs.

                   Feel your pant legs on your legs.

                   Feel your waist in your pants.  Feel your belt and its tightness.

                   Feel your chest where it touches your shirt.

                   Feel your shirt where it touches your chest.

                   Feel your hair on your head.

                   Try and feel inside your head.

You can go much more in depth than these.

In reverence, talk about what they felt.  Was it different thinking about your socks touching you and you touching your socks?  Did you learn anything about your body today?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Insight, divinity, mysticism, memory and hope and Peace.

Big Thoughts Little Words

Big Thoughts Little Words

In this simple exercise, participants use the size of a word to understand its importance.  Each participant will need a piece of paper or a spot on a white or chalk board.  Ask participants to write an important word on the paper as large as they can.  Tell them to fill the whole paper or spot on the board with the word.

Next have them flip the paper or erase the board and write the word as small as they can.

You can use words you are talking about or even phrases in this activity.  Also, you can do this with as many words or phrases as you would like.

In reverence, talk about how the meaning of the word changed when its size changed.  Do some words seem like they need to be big or small?  How did it feel to write the word or phrase in different ways?  What power do the words have big or small?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture, The Sources, Myth.

It’s Greek to Me

It’s Greek to Me

For this exercise, you will need one person who is in on the trick.  One will be the “Philosopher” and one will be the “Reader.”  Send the reader (your plant) out of the room and decide as a group on a short word.  For example, Love.  The reader comes back in and the philosopher, who has a pointer or wand, spells out the word starting sentences with the consonants and tapping out a code for the vowels with the pointer.  The vowel code is:

A- One tap

E- Two taps

I- Three taps

O-Four taps

U-Five taps

So for our example Love:

Sidecoach: Listen carefully to get the word. (This gives the L)

The sidecoach pretends to write in the air or on the ground.  Taps the pointer four times (This gives O)

Sidecoach: Very carefully watch my pointer (This gives the V)

The sidecoach pretends to write in the air or on the ground.  Taps the pointer twice (This gives the E)

Reader: The word is Love.

Now the rest of the group can try to be readers and discover the trick.

In reverence, talk about how this relates to things we read.  Do we have to decipher it like this?  What do we take out of what we read?  Can scripture, readings, or stories be hard to interpret?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Scripture, The Sources, Myth.

Kitty Wants a Corner

Kitty Wants a Corner

This is a standard acting exercise.  Begin by getting participants in a circle or surrounding the space.  One person will be in the middle and go up to people in the circle to say “Kitty wants a Corner.” To which the person in the circle will say “Ask my neighbor.”  The Kitty then moves to the next person and says the same phrase.  The people in the circle’s goal is to switch places with someone in the circle while the Kitty is asking for a corner.  The Kitty’s goal is to take the place of someone that is switching.  The person that is left in the middle if the Kitty gets their spot is the new Kitty.

In reverence, talk about how this relates to hospitality.  Have you ever sent someone to a “neighbor” instead of helping them yourself?  How did it feel to be the one asking for help?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Hospitality, Common Ground, Salvation, Community, Covenant, and Compassion.

Also a great Warm up.

The Space Between the Stars

The Space Between the Stars

To begin this exercise split the group in half.  One half will do the exercise and the other half will be the watchers alternately.  With the first group, explain that they will start by individually putting their hands about 2 inches apart and move them together around the space.  Their hands can go anywhere, as long as they stay about 2 inches apart.  Tell the watchers to focus on the space between the hands.  Once they have done this for a few minutes switch groups and let the watchers do the exercise.

Next switch back to the first group and have pairs of people put their hands about 2 inches apart and do the exercise together.  Again remind the watchers to see the space between the hands.  Let the second group do the same after a few minutes.

You can build up however you would like, but the goal should be that at the end of the exercise, the entire group should be doing the movement together.  Make sure that they keep their hands about 2 inches apart.  This will become more complicated as more people are working together.

In reverence, talk about what it was like keeping the distance, but moving together.  Was it hard to keep the space?  What did the watchers see in the space between?  What did the participants feel in the space?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Common Ground, Divinity, Mysticism, Grace, Community, and Covenant.

One Part in a Whole

One Part in a Whole

In this exercise participants will work as whole to do a group activity.  To begin separate participants into groups of 5 to 10.  Participants choose one person to be the leader.  The leader will secretly choose a group activity and begin doing an activity that relates.  As the participants realize what the activity they join in doing a part of it.  For example, if the activity is building a house, the leader starts by miming cutting wood.  The next player hammers nails, the next puts up a door, etc. Tell participants to focus more on the movement and not using dialogue.

In reverence, talk about what it was like working as a whole.  How was it like the covenant in class?  Did everyone think it was the same activity?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.

 

Great for the themes of: Covenant, common ground, vocation, community, Hospitality.